Yesterday is still fresh in our minds when Bene and I head out of the Albergue where we spent the night. Our Albergue turns out to be located below a small, but nice looking hotel. Non pilgrims stay in regular rooms (at regular prices) while people on The Way are given small rooms, or bunks below. The dinner ticket we purchased the previous night entitled us to a full buffet in the hotel….and we were up to the challenge. We gorged ourselves. Tomatoes, tuna, lettuce, carrots…… we piled it on the plate, and devoured it all. This meal was without question compensation for the massive efforts we had made to get here. Salads are turning out to be a rarity on this walk. I suspect the ingredients for salad may be quite expensive to serve so we made an extra effort to eat green at this meal.
After all, we were now convinced we had taken the worst the Camino had left to give us. We had proved ourselves worthy of the challenge, at least in our own minds. After all we were told the temperature had topped out in the mid 30‘s yesterday.
Bene’s strategy was to leave before 7:00am. This way we would be finished before the punishing afternoon sun. An idea I felt had particular merit….. I was in. (Smart lady that Bene)
We actually left our accommodations before 7 and were on the road with a couple of dozen others sharing the same idea. Using our flashlights as headlights we passed through the Pilgrim gates and over the bridge…… this really going to be a walking the park today for sure. (In retrospect this was a very significant bridge and is worth seeing in the daylight)
This is where reality and wishful thinking really do not run on parallel tracks.
Walking in the dark is quite wonderful. It is cool and by paying close attention it is a very comfortable time to walk. Unfortunately the darkness does not convince the terrain to be any less severe.
As the sun crested the surrounding mountains we were faced with aggressive uphill paths. One brutal ascent was followed by another….and the temperature started to rise.
Again we were walking though a broiler, and each step became more laboured than the last. It was obvious neither of us recovered from the demands placed on us the day before.
Our other concern was for Eddie and Susan who had decided to stay over in Pamplona for an extra night. They wouldn’t be heading into the jaws of a fire breathing dragon heading up the mountains surrounding Pamplona. We sent messages of warning, but got no response……
The walk continued relentless. Steep hills and long dry stretches without shade were delivered in abundance.
Why are these flies buzzing around us? We must be smelling like shi…….. oh, wait a minute….I get it. We obviously do smell like…..(fill in the blank)
One unassuming little town called Lorca had a wonderful fountain. It is astounding how cold, fresh water can reinvigorate and refresh. We filled our water bottles and splashed water all over our heads and necks. The effects were immediate and lasted for minutes. The refreshing water evaporated and we were once again on hard, baked dirt paths without shade of any sort.
During the last 3 km we stopped once again in a small-town and soaked our feet in an ice-cold stream. Again the effects of the water were welcomed as our numbed feet were no longer painfull reminders of the extraordinary demands we were putting on them.
Finally, and what seemed like an eternity we came to Estella. We were just starting to enter the town when Sabine called our names. (our German friend from St, Jean Pied de Port & Orrison) Sabine had walked on ahead and we really thought we would be unlikely to see her again. What a wonderful coincidence to see her here. Sabine would only be on her Camino for another couple of days as she had to return home, emphasizing the pleasure of seeing her again.
We said our goodbyes and headed out for the closest Albergue. Once we arrived at the first albergue as we entered the town, and after a brief look around, Bene didn’t like the look of the place and said we should head a little further into the town.
After an additional 5 minutes of walking we turned the corner to see big surprise. Susan was sitting a bench in front of the very next Albergue we wanted to stay in. We were ecstatic! Susan and Eddie had taken the bus from Pamplona and already had reserved beds for us. (returning the favour…..) They had also met up with Mark and his son Zeb.
Words fail to describe the feeling as our “Camino family” was reunited. I was overwhelmed to see both of them again, especially Susan. Other members of the family were also staying in these place… Ebbe and Jytte from Copenhagen were there as well. We decided we would eat home cooked meal. Mark, Zeb, and Eddie went shopping for food. Then Mark whipped up a fried rice while the rest of us made salads and artichoke heart/ roasted red pepper appetizers. Diner was a simple pasta…. and never tasted better.
It was such a happy time for us all.
Tomorrow is a new challenge. An extremely large hill is between our starting point and the destination. Interesting, the forecast says tomorrow is to be the hottest day in September….hotter than the last two days? This is hard to imagine.
Hi Cam, I,m out of breath just thinking of your climbs along with the extreme heat. I certainly don,t remember Martin Sheen climbing any mountains!
I too am traveling with friends from all over the States and every day we are pushing open heavy doors to see what we can buy in the next shop. to.morrow we will be pushing open the door to Helen Kellar,s home and to.day we made a visit to the FAME studios inMuscle Shoals. I too am ready for an early to bed after having so much food to.day.
we,re having a great time inFlorence, Alabama and every night I look forward to reading about your latest adventure. Keep on trekking and writing. love Mom.
Sounds like you are having a fabulous time too. Lots of pictures to come but most of the real stories are in the web site.
As Always….. Cam’.
HI Cam, it was Terry Fox Day at my kid’s school today and I sputtered and tried not to cry as I told Kieran who Terry was and what he means to Canadians, survivors and me personally. 26 miles a day on one leg for 143 days with two giant tumors in his lungs. Beyond words.
Be careful in that heat and come home safe. Keep pushing but don’t hurt yourself.
Really….when I start to feel sorry for myself I have to kept this in mind…
Hope all is well.
Hi Brother! I am tracking you and see you are currently in Navarre and the temperature is a tropical 30 degrees… Sure hope that is better than the last couple of scorchers! I enjoy following your little blue gps dot as it moves down my screen but I am loving your posts even more and FYI…. Your loyal following wants more pics!! Luv ya!
Yeah, pictures are tough. Lots of data and hard to do on the little pad I am using…
As Always….. Cam’.
Hi Cameron, here is Sabine – not Zubrine – from Germany (now back at home). I really love your block. I wish you all the best. Lovely greetings to all the others.
We are in Burgos with Mark and Zeb. Everyone says to say hello to you and we miss you so much. If we said to you “come back” because we miss you it may be too depressing.
I hope your family is glad to have you back.
Be well and you are definitely an important part of our Camino family. (I will correct the spelling of your beautiful name)
As Always…… Cam’.